Today’s meeting was taken, for the first time, by Vice Chairman Peter Wilson who started the meeting promptly at 1030 a.m. and advised of three apologies. He also welcomed our guests and members to the first Open Meeting of the season.
Our Speaker was Mr Andy Dennis, a nurse with the N.H.S. who also works and fund raises for ” Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres)” the subject of today’s discourse. Andy started his presentation with some statistics about M.S.F. (working in 70 countries; 27,000 National Staff and 3.000 Ex-Pats) and also provided context to his talk and where M.S.F. operates focussing on Conflict Areas; Remote Locations e.g. South Sudan; Exclusion from Care/Overwhelming Demand e.g. Uganda; Epidemics e.g. Ebola Outbreaks in locations such as Sierra Leone/ D.R.C. and Natural Disasters e.g. Haiti and earthquake.
Andy then took us through some of the missions he had previously worked with in places like South Sudan and as an Ebola Nurse in Sierra Leone in 2014. The audience were shown some shocking pictures of affected patients with issues such as malnourishment, dehydration and also gunshot wounds. Happily there were some encouraging recovery pictures shown which highlighted the benefits achieved by M.S.F..
On his return to the U.K. Andy detailed the “Suspect Ebola” process he experienced when falling ill involving Ambulances, Police and a Leeds Hospital, in marked contrast to facilities abroad where he’d worked (fortunately a false alarm!!). He explained about a fund raising book co-written with an M.S.F. colleague, Anna Simon, from journals both had kept when on service and which is for sale in “Imagined Things” bookshop in Harrogate.
The latter part of his presentation centred on his fund raising activities for M.S.F. in conjunction with his girlfriend and involving sponsored walks; half marathon ; burlesque shows and a San Francisco — New York bicycle ride. Initial targets were quickly exceeded, reset and he has currently raised over £100K with a current target of £200K!!
The talk was brilliantly presented, being informative, educational and entertaining but more importantly inspiring. It was accompanied by excellent slides and some supporting D.V.D clips. Questions were raised at the end by interested and appreciative audience members.
The Vote of Thanks on behalf of thirty members and six lady guests was given by Neil Ramshaw.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY